Psychology and Behavioral Economics : Applications for Public Policy book cover
2nd Edition

Psychology and Behavioral Economics
Applications for Public Policy

Edited By

Kai Ruggeri

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 29, 2021
ISBN 9781032005409
September 29, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
368 Pages 68 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

Psychology and Behavioral Economics offers an expert introduction to how psychology can be applied to a range of public policy areas. It examines the impact of psychological research for public policy making in economic, financial and consumer sectors, in education, healthcare and at workplace, for energy and the environment, and in communications.

Your energy bills show you how much you use compared to the average in your area. Your doctor sends you a text message reminder when your appointment is coming up. Your bank gives you three choices for how much to pay off on your credit card each month. Wherever you look, there has been a rapid increase in the amount of interest we place on understanding real human behaviors in everyday decisions, and these behavioral insights are now regularly used to influence everything from how companies recruit employees through to large-scale public policy and government regulation. But what is the actual evidence behind these tactics, and how did psychology become such a major player in economics? Answering these questions and more, this team of authors working across both academia and government present this fully revised and updated reworking of Behavioral Insights for Public Policy. This update covers everything from the history of how policy was historically developed, major research in human behavior and social psychology, and key moments that brought behavioral sciences into the forefront of public policy. Featuring over 100 empirical examples of how behavioral insights are being used to address some of the most critical challenges faced globally, key topics covered include evidence-based policy, a brief history of behavioral and decision sciences, behavioral economics, and policy evaluation, all illustrated throughout with lively case studies and major empirical examples.

Including end-of-chapter questions, a glossary, and key concept boxes to aid retention, as well as a new chapter revealing the work of the Canadian Government’s behavioral insights unit, this is the perfect textbook for students of psychology, economics, public health, education, and organizational sciences, as well as public policy professionals looking for fresh insight into the underlying theory and practical applications in a range of public policy areas.

Table of Contents

About this Book


Cass R Sunstein


  1. Psychology and Policy
  2. Kai Ruggeri, Kamilla Knutsen Steinnes, Maja Friedemann and Fadi Makki

  3. Evidence-Based Policy
  4. Kai Ruggeri, Olatz Ojinaga-Alfageme, Amel Benzerga, Jana Berkessel, Maja Friedemann, Renata Hlavová, Marvin Kunz, Nejc Plohl, Felicia Sundström and Tomas Folke

  5. A Brief History of Behavioral and Decision Sciences
  6. Kai Ruggeri, Jana Berkessel, Philipe Bujold, Maja Friedemann, Hannes Jarke, Kamilla Knutsen Steinnes, Mary MacLennan, Sahana K. Quail, Felice L. Tavera, Sanne Verra, Nejc Plohl and Elizabeth Hardy

  7. Behavioral Economics
  8. Kai Ruggeri, Hannes Jarke, Maja Friedemann and Francesca Papa

  9. Economic, Financial, and Consumer
  10. Kai Ruggeri, Maja Friedemann, Jakub M Krawiec, Hannes Jarke, Sahana K. Quail, Tomas Folke and Enrico Rubaltelli

  11. Health and Healthcare
  12. Hannes Jarke, Kai Ruggeri, Johanna Graeber, Markus R. Tünte, Olatz Ojinaga-Alfageme, Sanne Verra, Dafina Petrova, Amel Benzerga, Zorana Zupan and Matteo M. Galizzi

  13. Energy and Environment
  14. Sara Morales Izquierdo, Manou Willems, Kai Ruggeri, Johanna Immonen, Amel Benzerga and Sander van der Linden

  15. Education
  16. Carly D. Robinson, Thomas Lind Andersen, Clair Davison, Emir Demić, Hamish Evans, Mafalda Fontinha Mascarenhas, Shannon P. Gibson, Renata Hlavova, Wing Yi Lam, Silvana Mareva, Aleksandra Yosifova and Kai Ruggeri

  17. Work and Workplace
  18. Ralitsa Karakasheva, Jascha Achterberg, Jana Berkessel, Alessia Cottone, Jon Jachimowicz, Yuna Lee and Kai Ruggeri

  19. Communications
  20. Marlene Hecht, Nejc Plohl, Bojana Većkalov, Julia Stuhlreyer, Kai Ruggeri and Sander van der Linden

  21. Policy Evaluation
  22. Kai Ruggeri, Julia P. Stuhlreyer, Johanna Immonen, Silvana Mareva, Maja Friedemann, Matthew Lee and Rachel C. Shelton

  23. Behavioral Insights – A Government of Canada Perspective
  24. Elizabeth Hardy, Haris Khan and Meera Paleja

  25. Behavioral Impacts for Public Policy

          Kai Ruggeri

Appendix A: Glossary



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Kai Ruggeri is the founding director of the Policy Research Group in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, UK. He is also an Assistant Professor at Columbia University, USA. His research focuses on population-level behaviors and how to better use these in public policy to reduce the impacts of inequality and increase population well-being.


Praise for a previous edition:

"Written by a team of authors working across both academia and government, Behavioral Insights for Public Policy examines how psychology can be applied to a range of public policy areas. The reader addresses a wide variety of concepts and cases from the origins of policy, as well as major findings from behavioural economics and nudge theory. It also presents applications of behavioural insights into health, wealth and finance, the consumer, energy and the environment, education, and the workplace, as well as public engagement."

Journal of Consumer Policy